Due to its high nutritional value, quinoa is considered a ‘super-grain’. Quinoa provides all of the essential amino acids, which cannot be made by the body and must come from food. In comparison to other grains, it is not only high in protein, but also high in iron, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, and phosphorus. The way we cook and eat quinoa is similar to other grains and although I have referred to it as a grain here, it is actually more closely related to beets and green leafy vegetables like spinach and chard. When we eat quinoa, we actually eat the seed of a plant that is similar to spinach, not wheat.
One cup of cooked quinoa yields approximately 39 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat.
- Quinoa is a complete protein, as it contains all 9 essential amino acids.
- Ideal for vegetarians as it contains lysine (a rare amino acid in vegetables), methionine, and cysteine, which are all important for vegetarians as most plant sources have inadequate amounts of these amino acids.
- Perfect alternative to wheat, rye or barley because quinoa is gluten free!
- High in insoluble fiber (about 5 grams per cup). Insoluble fiber cannot be broken down in the gut and therefore adds volume to waste in the digestive tract, which helps you feel full longer, keep bowel movements regular and help relieve constipation.
- Fiber is great for the digestive system and also helps control weight, lower cholesterol, and stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Low on the glycemic index, which is ideal for those with diabetes or unstable blood sugar levels.
- High in antioxidants, which help to reduce free radicals, fight aging, and are good for heart health.